BDR Partner Programs: 3 Questions for 3 Channel Experts

Managed services providers (MSPs) searching for backup and disaster recovery (BDR) partner programs may be looking for a program that offers the world, but many programs do not.

CJ Arlotta, Associate Editor

March 22, 2013

4 Min Read
BDR Partner Programs: 3 Questions for 3 Channel Experts

rsz_partnersManaged services providers (MSPs) searching for backup and disaster recovery (BDR) partner programs may be looking for a program that offers the world, but many programs do not. Investing in a the wrong BDR partner program can have a negative impact on any MSP, so how can you avoid mistakes? Which qualities make BDR partner programs successful? What should MSPs look for in a BDR partner program? We’ve reached out to three experts in in the channel, plus a bonus expert, for answers in this MSPmentor exclusive.

BDR partner programs have to work for both the MSP and vendor. A partner program develops a relationship between two businesses should ensure that both benefit in some way from the deal. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for them?

Which qualities should a good BDR partner program have?

Clark Integrated Technologies Sales Director Austen Clark said that a partner program must add value at some point for an MSP. Vendors must remember that MSPs are in the channel to make a profit.

“For any of these programs to work there has to be a win-win for all involved,” he said. “There are a number of partner programs that don’t follow this principal, and this is when MSPs will vote with their time and money and select an alternative offering. For an MSP they will put time, effort, marketing resource for a solution. There has to be a return. If it doesn’t stack up, then they look for the next technology that will.”

Clark added that MSPs should look for a partner program that is interactive, collaborative and informational, creating a two-way flow of information.

“There are a lot of different partner programs out there, but the best ones have benefits that partners actually care about and can easily use,” said Datto Marketing & Channel Relations Director Shannon Kohn. “I think it’s dangerous for vendors to assume they know what partners want or need, you have to solicit feedback. If you put together a program your partners don’t care about, then what was the point?”

Kohn said her company reached out to partners during the crafting of Datto’s Partner Alliance Program.

BlackPoint IT Services Managed Services VP Chris Butler, acting as our bonus expert, said everything is on the table when looking for a partner program, however, a technology and packaging that offers muli-tenant portals and white labeling options are the most important qualities a BDR partner program can have.

“The most important item from an internal business perspective is that we can get a single bill and easily identify each of our clients on that bill,” he said. “It is also beneficial when we receive volume discounting with all our clients’ solutions counted as a whole towards volume.”

What BDR partner program should you avoid?

A less advantageous partner program is “one that does not value the relationship,” Clark said. “Too many partners look at it from their perpective, without considering how end users will engage. Remember as an MSP we will have many vendors to deal with. It is often that the partner believes their own hype, they are number one.”

BlackPoint IT Services Senior Infrastructure Consultant Andrew Hutchinson said partner programs that don’t impress are ones where vendors are not responsive to the needs of an MSPs, including the failure to commit.

“Partner programs are meant to strengthen relationships, drive growth and reward partners for their commitment to your company,” Kohn said. “If your program is not centered around these objectives, you may need to think about revising it.”

Clark said placing “road-blocks” in the way of an MSP adds to a bad partner program. Vendors shouldn’t have their door closed to their partners. MSPs need a partner that openly engages.

How can vendors enhance a BDR partner program ?

Kohn said that vendors can enhance BDR partner programs by providing partners with incentives for participating. Vendors need to be able to motivate partners.

“Our partner program lets partners accumulate “Datto Points”, and you can get points in a variety of ways,” she said. “The main way is by purchasing devices/cloud storage, but you can also get points for visiting Datto at a trade show, attending webinars, completing training, etc. The more points you get, the faster you move up the ranks!”

“When an MSP loses confidence in the provider, it is game over – possibly for ever,” Clark said. “The amount of MSPs that I have discussed this with is high. All of them will have their own experience and opinion. When they have been treated poorly they leave. Then they inform their colleagues.”

Clark noted that vendors should not use partner programs to sell to end-users. MSPs don’t want to compete with their vendor partners.

“In my opinion, a partner program is the biggest avenue to the building of stronger vendor/partner relationship,” said Hutchinson.

About the Author(s)

CJ Arlotta

Associate Editor, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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